I saw an alarming report about the decline of insects in Europe. A group of entomologists took samples at several locales, over time, and noticed a decrease in the mass of insects. They used a behavioral trap and weighed their catches of insects. Decline over recent years was obvious.
This is disconcerting. We’re aware of the sharp decline in honeybees here in the United States. My friend Jeremy planted me a bee garden this year. Only a few bumblebees visited my flowers; no honeybees or even the little stingless bees. It’s a shade garden, but still….
I did not notice a decline in butterflies on my Lantanas; plenty of skippers there. We watched the skippers disappear during this year’s eclipse, and return as soon as the sun reappeared. I didn’t see many Monarchs this autumn. Cicadas sang as usual, as did the spur-throat grasshoppers.
Some people view insects as nuisances. Gnats, roaches, stinging wasps, ugh! But insects really do provide essential services. Pollination, for example. Insects and flowering plants grew up together, and they are mutually dependent. We can’t afford to lose insects.
Should we blame the new generation of insecticides? Those synthetic nicotine products that have become so pervasive? If so, fasten your seat belt! Remember the firestorm that Rachel Carson ignited with her exposé, The Silent Spring? Not again, I hope.
November 25, 2017
“If all mankind were to disappear, the world would regenerate back to the rich state of equilibrium that existed ten thousand years ago. If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos.” – Ed Wilson.